If you have spent much time hanging around with Red Lizards or taking part in their many diverse activities, chances are you hold the club in a pretty high regard. Well, those positive reactions have been made “official” by Competitor Magazine readers.
Competitor recently announced the winners of their “Best Of 2013″ voting, and Team Red Lizard has been honored as Best Running Club in the Northwest region, which comprises the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho area. With only eight regions in the Competitor universe, a win like this means quite a lot, especially with so many other excellent and worthy clubs in the region.
So what aspects of TRL won over the voters? Members have several theories, but the diversity of club members and activities is a common theme.
“If you are looking at a club that offers a variety of activities, has good competitive runners, does unique things like [serve meals at the] Blanchet [House] and [volunteer at] Special Olympics, marathon pacing etc, I couldn’t imagine another club that would be chosen,” explains long time Red Lizard Joanna Harper.
“I think it’s very cool that we were recognized,” says Angela Lindbo. ” I’m not surprised. TRL is a diverse club of ‘fast holes’ that keep us visible as well as a active membership base that’s involved in group runs and volunteer efforts. I’m a proud Lizard!”
“What the Lizards do best is community presence,” points out Sarah Scholl. “I think Stumptown XC and [race director] Jacob [Buckmaster] along with the committee really sealed that deal, especially this year. 60 bounding Lizards above the crowds [pacing] at Rock and Roll and the Portland Marathon is another huge part of it, too. Joining this group was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Amy Al-Khalisi adds “Oregon and Washington’s running communities are amazing and have quality people who participate. I believe having dedicated members who are active have everything to do with it. We have a committed board who are organized and continue to maintain the glue and activities in this club. I believe [TRL’s success is largely due to] consistent leadership with outstanding volunteers.”
“We have an extremely strong reputation among a wide range of groups, including the other clubs,” says the club’s long-time coach and track workout czar Rick Lovett. “Things that come to mind are marathon pacing (which we do better than any other group I’ve ever heard of), Special Olympics, a large slate of group runs, Blanchet House, a suite of fun events, and the unusual mix of all-comers attitude and an increasingly competitive presence on the local racing scene. I have repeatedly heard non-members agree whole-heartedly that the Lizards are the ‘fun group.’”
“I’m not surprised,” says Apparel Director Dave Waldron. “I love this club because it is so well rounded. Not just focused on training or racing but other ways to be involved like our social & community activities. Plus we now have awesome socks!”
Relatively new member, Ohio transplant, and now active Lizard Lou Karl agrees: “I find the Lizards to be the perfect blend of committed running, social activities, and community outreach. There are a lot of clubs out there and some have unique attributes (faster, trails, beginners). For me, TRL is the perfect running lifestyle club and I am proud and happy to be a member.”
As a happy Lizard member since 2005, I concur with all of the above, and would just add that the logo and singlets are pretty awesome too!
If you’d like to join in on the fun and become an official member of this award-winning club, an annual membership is only $30, and includes an expertly laminated membership card (that’s my job!), two kinds of window stickers, a Red Lizard tech shirt, and a subscription to the bi-monthly Red Lizard Gazette (containing the hilarious comic strip “Joe’s Toes” among other great features).
In addition, Red Lizard members get a 30% discount on Mizuno shoes and apparel at Foot Traffic stores (15% off on everything else), and a chance to participate and volunteer in myriad activities like marathon pacing, Special Olympics, food service at Blanchet House, Stumptown Cross Country, and much more.
From its humble beginnings many years ago as a logo doodled on a paper napkin to its current high visibility at races, group runs, and other events, Team Red Lizard has become a fixture in the northwest running community.